10 best outdoor games we used to play that our kids have never heard of
Kids of the 70s, 80s and 90s will remember them well with a nostalgic tear in their eye but here are 10 great outdoor games we used to play that our children have probably never heard of.
With the advancement in technology over the years the current generation is more interested in PlayStations and iPads these days than playing outdoors.
Times have changed and with it we have lost some of the great games that saw us while away hours of our youth while also keeping active.
While our children may not have heard of some of these old classics, you can bet they will enjoy them just as much as we did all those years ago.
There will be slightly different regional names for the games depending on where you grew up so we’ve gone with the most commonly used.
With some of them there is an element of safety that needs to be taken into account so common sense is needed.
Top 10 classic outdoor games:
Two players stand at either side of a road and attempt to throw a ball at the corner of the opposite kerb thus causing it to bounce back towards you. This counts as one “kerbsie” - if it bounces back and hits your kerb without touching the floor it’s the ultimate - a double kerbsie!
After getting a kerbsie the player goes into the middle of the road and can rack up more points by hitting the kerb and catching the ball again.
First player to 10 kerbsies wins - play is suspended when: a) A car goes past b) dinner’s ready.
Opinion is divided over the best technique for scoring kerbsies. Many players opt for an over arm ‘basketball’ style technique while some opt for spreading their legs as wide as possible, getting as low to the ground as possible and using an under-arm technique. You can really make a name for yourself with the no-look backwards throw.
2) Stuck in the mud
Also known as ‘Freeze tag’ in some parts, the person who is “it” would run around and try to tag everyone they could get their hands on.
If they get someone, the tagged person was ‘stuck in the mud’ or ‘frozen’ and could not move under any circumstances until someone else came by to unfreeze/unstick them by tagging them.
This one used to cause a few rows over favouritism among friends!
3) Bus 21
A personal favourite this one. The player who is “it” must count at a lamppost with their eyes closed (no peeping!) while the rest of the players run off and hide.
The players must get back and touch the lamppost without being tagged and the player who is “it” is not allowed to just stand right next to the lamppost and must venture out and be an agreed distance away unless chasing back.
Some classic moves in this one including hiding behind a bin close by undetected and sneaking out and tip toeing to the lamppost to the frustration of the tagger.
4) Knockdown ginger
aka Knock n’ bolt/Knock n’ run/Knock door run
The most controversial street game on the list perhaps and maybe not one you will want to bring back, but what fun we had playing it back in the day.
Knock Down Ginger and it’s alternative named variations has been played since there were front doors to play it on. Usually carried out early evening, the aim is to ring a doorbell or knock on a door and run away as fast as possible.
To make this game even more exciting you can play variations such as after knocking you hide as close to the door as possible, in shrubs or behind a tree, behind the owner’s gate or just around the corner.
The test comes when you try a second time on the same door, giving the owner a few moments to settle down in front of their TV, the quicker you do this the more exciting it can be.
Another that will have differing names around the country and another that kills a good few hours.
You split into two even teams, the tracking team must close their eyes or turn away and give the hiding team about five minutes to get away as the game is played over a much wider area than traditional tag.
Then you must set off with your own tactics and find and catch all the other team’s members.
You agree a strict area to stay within and some variants can be added like the hiding team must get back to base without being caught - a bit like Bus 21 - or it can go on for hours.
6) British bulldog
Played over a large area, one or two people are picked to stand in the middle. The bulldog/s stand in the middle of the area. All remaining players stand at one end of the area, which is the ‘home’.
The aim is to run from one end of the field of play to the other, without being caught by the bulldog/s. When a player is caught, they become a bulldog themselves. The winner is the last player or players that are free.
The game is now banned in most schools so supervision is advised.
7) What’s the time, Mr Wolf/Mr Fox?
One player is chosen to be Mr Wolf/Fox and stand at the opposite end of the playing area, keeping their back to the other players.
All the players then shout: ‘What time is it Mr Wolf/Fox?’ in unison.
Mr Wolf then answers in one of two ways. Still with their back turned, they will either shout a time - ie 3 o’clock - after which the other players will then take that many steps towards the him/her, counting as they go.
Or they’ll shout ‘dinner time!’ and quickly turn around to chase the other players back to their starting point.
If Mr Wolf successfully tags a player, that player becomes the new Mr Wolf for the next round.
8) Duck Duck Goose
Everyone sits in a circle while one kid goes around, tapping the head of each person and says “Duck” along the way.
Then the person taps a head and shouts “Goose!” before running off and the goose has to get up and give chase with the intent of tagging them before they get back to the space where the goose was sitting.
9) Red Rover
Separate group into two teams (Team A and Team B) each team forming a straight line.
Someone from Team B is called over to ‘burst through’ the arms of two people from Team A.
If they are successful, they go back to their Team B line. If they fail, they become part of Team A and so on.
When you flick a marble, you’re taking part in a game more than 4,000 years old. When the ancient site of Mohenjo-daro in Pakistan – dating back to 2600 BC – was excavated by archeologists, they discovered a series of small stone marbles. Ancient examples have also been uncovered in Egypt.
So how do you play the classic marbles game?
Draw a circle 3 feet (90cm) wide on a pavement in chalk, or make one out of string if you’re playing indoors on carpet.
Choose your shooter marble- this should be bigger than any of your other marbles and put 5 to 10 other marbles in the centre of the ring to play.
When it’s your turn, kneel outside the ring and flick your shooter marble out of your fist with your thumb, trying to hit as many marbles out of the ring. If you knock any marbles out of the ring, keep them and have another turn. If you don’t knock any marbles out of the ring, leave your shooter marble in the ring until your next turn and the next player takes their turn and continue until the ring is empty.
The winner is the person with the most marbles at the end of the game – you can then return your marbles to each other, unless you have agreed to play for keeps.